Townsville woman changing the way we look at cancer
Taryn Claire Le Nu wants to change the way the world looks at breast cancer.
Taryn calls herself a "thriver" rather than a "survivor", and she will reveal exactly why in her new book To Cancer With Love launching this weekend.
Since her diagnosis in December 2016, she said the events that led her to revealing her story had been a whirlwind.
"From diagnosis to the day I had both breasts removed was exactly two weeks," she said.
"I didn't set out, when I first was diagnosed with cancer, to write a book. It's a completely different trajectory to almost two years ago."
The concept of To Cancer With Love began with a small, private Facebook group, which Taryn created after her diagnosis to keep her loved ones informed.
It morphed into a discussion space between hundreds of people on how to approach a negative situation with love.
"We aren't well versed in practising trauma. We do good times really well, but we do bad times really badly," she said.
"It really was about teaching other people how to treat me, because people don't have that practice.
"Once I put the firm boundaries in place that (people) could only bring me love I've only received love, and it's been profound.
"From that, I felt like that was a more empowered state."
Taryn was diagnosed the age of 41 and underwent a bilateral mastectomy and an auxiliary dissection to remove her lymph nodes after discovering her breasts looked completely different while leaning down to dry her legs after a shower.
"The right breast looks like a mountain peak, the left breast looks like something that's been stomped on. I stand back up, it looks completely normal," she writes.
"My husband is a GP, so I put my towel back on, march back to the kitchen, he thinks he's going to get lucky for that time of the day, so he's got a little spring in his step, he follows back to the bedroom and into the bathroom, he's got the twinkle in his eye.
"I keep eye contact, drop the towel, bend down, get back up, and his face is completely ashen.''
She said women aren't always told the warning signs to look for while self-examining.
"Spice things up, take it out of the bedroom. Start doing it standing up in the shower, start doing it bending over and having a look at shape changes. Start doing it in front of the mirror," she said.
Taryn said she has no problem sharing her journey with her three children - two sons, now aged 19 and 18 and one daughter aged 11 - even if sometimes they learned a little too much information.
"I didn't tell them about the discovery because we didn't know what we were dealing with. Then the diagnosis, I'm pretty up-front and honest but kids don't always absorb it as it is," she said.
"That's one of the driving factors about writing the book - wanting to create a legacy.
"When they grow up and they have wives, maybe this kind of information will be important or they might want to know."
Three more books are expected to be released in the To Cancer With Love series.
To Cancer With Love will be launched on Sunday at the Drill Hall Studio with a book signing at Mary Who Bookshop next weekend. Visit www.tarynclairelenu.com to RSVP - 'boobie bickies' and bubbles included.